On August 3rd, 2015, President Obama and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy released the Final Rule for the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever national standard set to limit carbon pollution from power plants.
Under the authority of Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Power Plan requires states to develop tailored implementation plans to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. In effect, the Plan will create more demand for solar and other renewable technologies than all statewide Renewable Portfolio Standards currently in place. Assuming that implementation of the Final Rule takes place as scheduled, the states’ initial compliance plans will be due in September 2016, but the Plan allows states to requests extensions of up to two years for final plan submission, to ensure that the states have enough time to develop sustainable compliance plans. Additionally, the Final Rule extended the compliance averaging period to begin in 2022 instead of 2020, and emissions reductions are phased in on a gradual “glide path” to 2030.
The Clean Power Plan was designed to build upon steps taken by the Administration, states, cities, and companies throughout the country to address climate change, which have resulted in these accomplishments to date:
- 37 states with renewable portfolio standards or goals
- 25 states with energy efficiency standards or goals
- 10 states with market-based greenhouse gas reduction programs
- 50 states with demand-side energy efficiency programs
The Administration is confident that the Clean Power Plan sets flexible and achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, which are the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. The Plan’s reduction in pollutants that contribute to soot and smog will provide significant public health benefits, including reduced asthma attacks in children. In addition to promoting the Plan’s public health benefits, the Plan encourages states to make early investments in clean energy and job creation while focusing on low-income communities and helping the average American family save money on their energy bill.
The White House Press Release is available here, and the Final Rule can be found here (note, however, that this version will be replaced once the official version is published with the Federal Register) . The EPA also prepared a helpful Factsheet, which provides a broad overview of the Plan. The Final Rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.